Why Is My Meringue Not Peaking? (6 Common Reasons)

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Meringues are fun to make and can make perfect additions to almost any dessert. Sadly, though, meringues can be tricky to make if you are not highly experienced in making them.

One common problem is the meringue not peaking. So, why would your meringue not peak?

There are several reasons why your meringue may not have peaked well; these include not adding tartar to the mixture, your meringue mixture was exposed to fat or oil, you simply havent beaten the eggs enough, you added the sugar in too fast, your eggs might have been too cold, to name a few.

When your meringues are not peaking as you would have hoped, this can be pretty disappointing, and it can discourage many bakers from making meringues again.

But dont be discouraged; there are ways you can fix the problem and avoid it in the future, so keep reading!

Reasons Why Your Meringue Is Not Peaking

Why Is My Meringue Not Peaking? (6 Common Reasons)

Making meringue for a pie or pavlova is a fun task and is a great way to add a bit of pizazz to almost any dessert. However, meringue can be challenging to get right, and some problems can arise if you are not careful.

Numerous people face one problem: their meringue wont create the lovely, soft peaks they need to ensure your meringue is light and fluffy. This can be quite disappointing for any baker and can have you questioning where you went wrong. So, lets go through the reasons your meringue may not be peaking.

1 – You Didn’t Add the Tartar to the Egg Whites

Most recipes for meringue have an ingredient listed called tartar. This element plays an essential role in making meringues, and it helps create the peaks you need for meringues to come out wonderfully.

Tartar is mildly acidic that will help provide your meringue with structure; therefore, making it easier to get the volume of peaks you desire from your meringue. If you did not add the tartar into your meringue mixture, you would struggle to get the peaks you need for a perfect meringue.

To get your desired results, you only need to add about teaspoon of tartar into the mix. Alternatively, you can use some lemon juice, about teaspoon, as this will do the same job as the tartar. Always follow the recipe of your meringue to the letter!

2 – Your Meringue Was Exposed to Oil or Fat

If your meringue mixture was exposed to oil or fat, this would reduce or stop the formation of the meringue peaks as you will not be able to whip enough air into the egg whites. The amount of oil or fat needed to affect your meringue is as little as some leftover residue on the bowl you are using.

It could also be a small bit of egg yolk that may have gone unnoticed in your egg whites while you were separating the eggs. All this will prevent your egg whites from foaming correctly to form the peaks you need.

Unfortunately, there is no solution for this one, so you will need to start a new batch of meringue. Ensure you wash out the bowl thoroughly and separate the eggs carefully.

3 – You Haven’t Beaten the Eggs Long Enough

If you look at your meringue and it looks soggy and watery, this could be due to two reasons. Firstly, are you sure you have beaten your eggs for long enough? Secondly, if you are using an electric beater, was it at a high enough speed?

You need to beat your meringue mix for about 15 minutes, and it needs to be beaten fast to allow air to penetrate the mixture properly. If you havent beaten your meringue for long enough, try to beat it a bit more and see if that helps. Make sure you’re moving quickly as well.

4 – You Used Cold Eggs

When you made your meringue, did you let the eggs come to room temperature before placing them in your meringue mixture, or did you use them straight from the fridge?

If you answered straight from the fridge, then this could be the reason why your meringue is not forming peaks as it should. When the egg whites are cold, its more difficult for air to penetrate them to make them fluffy as the eggs are more gelatinous.

When making meringue, always take your eggs out of the fridge at least one hour before you start so that the eggs can reach room temperature.

5 – You Used Old Eggs

When making meringue, the freshness of the eggs you use is vital to the process. So, you need to use the freshest eggs you can get to make your meringue. This is because when eggs are fresh, they are acidic.

This acidity is important as it helps the proteins in the whites of the egg stay tightly knit, which will help the meringue form lovely peaks. If the eggs you are using are slightly old, the egg will be more alkaline.

This will cause the proteins in the egg to pull apart from each other, and the whites will become thinner. This will cause your meringues peaks to be small or non-existent.

6 – You Added the Sugar Too Fast

When making meringue, you need to add the sugar into the mix slowly, or you could end up with some problems, one being that your meringue wont form peaks. To understand why this is, you need to understand sugars role in making meringue.

When the sugar is whisked into the egg whites, the sugar dissolves into the protein film that surrounds the air bubbles in the mixture as it is whisked. This dissolved sugar helps the proteins in the egg whites stay moist and not bind too tightly together, which would release the air.

The sugar will also help draw water out of the egg whites and trap it in the air bubbles. Then when the meringue is baked, this water can easily evaporate. All this helps stabilize the meringue and create the peaks you are looking for. So, you should always add the sugar in one tablespoon at a time.

Final Thoughts

Why Is My Meringue Not Peaking? (6 Common Reasons)

Unfortunately, there are several reasons why your egg whites are not forming the lovely, fluffy peaks you were hoping for. You need to troubleshoot a bit to try and find which one of the problems listed above is the one that is causing you problems, but you should be able to fix it, or worst-case scenario, you might need to start over.

Good luck with your meringue!


What causes meringue to not peak?

Why isn’t my meringue getting stiff peaks?
You Haven’t Beaten Your Meringue Long Enough. Thankfully, this is a fixable problem.
You’re Using Too Small of a Bowl.
The Egg Whites are Cold.
You’ve Skipped the Acid.
Fat Has Gotten In.
The Sugar Was Added Too Fast.
You Added Salt.

Why am I not getting stiff peaks?

Any amount of grease or egg yolk will keep your whites from beating to stiff peaks properly. So while you’re waiting for those whites to warm up, clean and dry your bowl, beaters, and spatula by washing in hot, soapy water.

How do I get my meringue to peak?

3. Beat Egg Whites Until Stiff
Recipes often call for adding cream of tartar before beating whites to stiff peaks.
When making meringue and other desserts that call for adding sugar to the whites, beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute or until soft peaks form (tips curl).

Why are my egg whites not peaking?

Tips for whisking egg whites:

New, room temperature egg whites will whisk up faster than old, cold eggs. Make sure the bowl you whisk the egg whites in is free from any greasy residue. Make sure that no egg yolk is in with the egg whites. Egg yolks are very high in fat and will hinder the whisking process.

What happens if meringue doesn’t stiffen?

If the meringue mixture becomes flat or runny when the sugar is added then it usually means that the egg whites were not quite whisked enough before the sugar was added. It sometimes helps to whisk the whites, then add a tablespoon of sugar and whisk the whites back to medium peaks before adding the rest of the sugar.

What does over whipped meringue look like?

The foam bubbles in over-beaten egg whites become too big and cannot maintain their structure. When folded into a batter, the bubbles lose their bond and look lumpy. In the oven, they pop and deflate. Over-beaten meringue takes on a coarse and grainy appearance.

How long does it take for meringue to peak?

It can take a while for a meringue to reach stiff peaks and for the sugar to dissolve—about five minutes with a hand mixer. If the sugar has not dissolved (for example, if it tastes gritty), keep beating.

Can you overbeat meringue?

Over whip the egg whites and you risk making them too firm and they will risk losing the moisture that they hold. This will affect your meringue’s crispness, as well as making it more likely to collapse or weep beads of sugar. As my meringue guru Gary Mehigan advises: “If you over whip the egg whites you cannot fix it.

Can you over beat stiff peaks?

Over-beating – It’s possible to take it too far.

After the stiff peak stage, egg whites will start to look grainy and dull. They will finally fold in on themselves. Whipped cream will also get grainy and will start to separate into fat and liquid.

What is the secret to stiff meringue?

For each egg white, use 2 teaspoon lemon juice.8 teaspoon of cream of tartar for every egg white before beating—it’s an acid that stabilizes the egg white. If you don’t have any on hand, use 1Don’t forget the secret ingredient

For the strongest and most stable meringue, add 1

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